Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

If there is one thing I have learned in my four years in the progressive netroots, it is that we are at our best when we eschew the practices and norms of the Washington, D.C. media and political establishment, and instead strive toward new ideas, new organizations, and new communities. The fifty-state strategy is a new idea for Democrats that does not merely replicate the narrow targeting of the soft, unreliable "swing" in a small number of districts. The silent revolution is a new strategy where the grassroots and netroots refuse to simply fall in line with the Democratic Party, and where we also refuse to adopt the old, self-defeating practices of splintering via either third parties or apathy. The small donor revolution works not just to support Democratic candidates, but as an aggressive approach to freeing the Democratic Party from corporate money. New progressive media is not around just to influence established media structures, but also to keep the base excited on a daily basis, and to build new media and activist communities of our own. When we support Democrats like Howard Dean and Russ Feingold, as Glenn Greenwald brilliantly notes it is not just so that we can forward their political ambitions and make them more "electable." It is, instead, because we seek the most radical transformation of all in American politics: an America where our leaders take actions because of strong conviction and belief, not simply to get another leg up in the great beltway game that seeks to scam the American people into voting for them.

A smart political scientist friend of mine, Matthew Kerbel, once told me that every revolution in American media has been followed by a realignment in American politics. In this tradition, I firmly believe that a long-term, progressive transformational realignment of American politics is the promise of the progressive netroots. As a movement, I have always believed that we should shoot for nothing less than a full-scale realignment of the media, the pundit-ocracy, the Democratic establishment, and indeed of American politics as a whole. I believe that looking at what we have achieved in just the last four or five years, we should expect nothing less of ourselves. We clearly can make this transformation happen.

Nothing saddens me more then when I see people in the netroots trying to play Washington insider. When I see netroots activists talking about which vice-presidential candidate someone should choose in order to better scam certain national demographic groups into voting for the Democratic ticket, it really bums me out. Whenever I see netroots activists declaring their support for a candidate based on his or her "electability," it really bums me out. Whenever I see netroots activists deeming candidate X or candidate Y "un-electable" for one of the many clichéd and utterly discredited reasons that the established has always used to deem candidates unelectable ("doesn't play in the heartland,""too liberal,""can't swing the South or the border states,""not enough military credentials") I almost start shaking with rage. Since when did we become the same losers we are trying to replace via the silent revolution?

What Democrats need in 2008 is a candidate who can truly inspire people. That is the only way we are going to achieve the transformation that the progressive movement promises. It is not going to be done through narrow targeting. It is not going to be done through resume boasting. It is not going to be done through risk aversion and "electability." In fact, in all likelihood, it will be done in spite of all the old rationales. The transformati0on will probably only happen when we have a winning candidate who wins despite supposedly not appealing the swing, despite supposedly not having the right credentials, despite supposedly being too "liberal," and despite supposedly being "unelectable." When a candidate like that wins, then the transformation will truly have taken place. Since World War Two, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were two candidates who defied all conventional wisdom in their runs to the Presidency. However, they shared a key trait: they inspired large numbers of people who otherwise would simply have fallen in line behind their party's candidate or stayed in the mushy middle. And there have also been transformation candidates who lost, but still had a profound impact on our national political culture. In that category, Barry Goldwater and Howard Dean come to mind.

I am writing this essay now that one candidate who I believed could enact the transformation promised by the progressive movement, Russ Feingold, has decided not to enter the campaign. I write this essay both to urge my fellow Feingold supporters to not quickly throw your support to someone else, unless you truly believe that someone else could also enact the sort of transformation Feingold promised. I also write to all netroots and movement activists, and urge them to do the same thing. In the primaries, don't fall for narrow targeting. Don't fall for resumes. Don't fall for electability arguments. Look for inspiration. Demand inspiration. I don't know who among the remaining pool of candidates is most likely to deliver that inspiration. Off-hand, Obama, Edwards and Gore seem like the best bets, but nothing is guaranteed at all. It might be none of those three. It might be someone else who has yet to find his or her true voice. Change can happen. Edwards himself was transformed during the 2004 primary process, when late in 2003 he began to find a way to articulate a powerful and progressive vision based on an utterly inspiring story of America. He didn't start the campaign that way. Actually, I think it could be argued that just like Howard Dean, John Edwards was transformed by his most earnest and fervent supporters. Both candidates were able to take the inspiration they drew from their supporters and use it to inspire wide swaths of America in return.

Stay on the lookout for transformation and inspiration. Shoot for the moon and reach for the stars. When beltway pundits tell you what you are doing is either wrong or hopeless, that means there is a very good chance you are on the right track. Ignore the people who don't believe in anything. Go with your hopes and your inspiration, because without our hopes and without our inspiration, the progressive movement has absolutely nothing.

Tags: Democrats, General 2008, Primary Elections, progressive movement, Realignment (all tags)



Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Great post.  I agree 100%.

by Go Vegetarian 2006-11-12 08:27AM | 0 recs
I agree and I like Edwards

Edwards has been working non stop for One America for us all that is transformation enough for me. Too long the corporations have had the total control. Now is the time to look to the peoples needs. Issues he has already been working on. Minimum wages and proverty just for a couple.

John Edwards for 2008.

by dk2 2006-11-12 08:33AM | 0 recs
More Than That...

As a movement, I have always believed that we should shoot for nothing less than a full-scale realignment of the media, the pundit-ocracy, the Democratic establishment, and indeed of American politics as a whole.
Nothing less than that will work, IMHO.  It's not audacious to set such a goal.

What's audacious--indeed, downright foolish--is to set a lower goal, and believe it will get the job done.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-12 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Al Gore inspires me.  He is a statesman and thinker who can tackle the enormous problems we face.  We don't just need a Kennedy, who can inspire -- we need a Roosevelt, who can build sweeping solutions.

by xebecs 2006-11-12 08:46AM | 0 recs
Thank you, Chris

I might write more in response to your post later, but I just wanted to sincerely thank you being the voice of Feingold supporters on the front page.

Pretty much everything you've written here is exactly what I think. And since you wrote it, people will actually read it.

Thank you.

by Paul Simon Democrat 2006-11-12 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Just heard Lieberman with Russert this morning and I have to say
"You are Dead to Me, "Independent  Joe!"

As to our '08 Presidential Candidate:
Republicans were INSPIRED by Geo W Bush and look what that got us.
Inspiration is an emotion.  Let's temper that inspiration with our intellects to choose the best Democrat to run for President.  And that person will be a human being, with flaws, not a Messiah.

We Democrats need to take a break after this Election in order to clear our minds and hearts for the next run.  I want an inspirational run, a smart run, and a winning run.

Consider that every election is different. The issues are different.  The electorate is different.  The candidates are different.  
We Democrats have diverse new voices in Congress who speak for different constituancies from all over the country.  We need to hear them.

So, settle back, speak out but remember to LISTEN.
 '08 will form as we Democrats learn what this '06 election has wrought for our party.  Listen to Democrats and Republicans and the even the media in Washington and elsewhere.  Listen to the all the Grassroots and all the Netroots.  Only through this process can we choose the best candidate to lead our party in the '08 Presidential election.

by CLK 2006-11-12 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Good comment.  I don't know how I feel about giving up all the idealism that drives me day in and day out though.  Most people here at MyDD haven't bought the whole Obama is Jesus thing, and we're not going to.  In fact, very few people would ever claim us MyDDers aren't pragmatic enough; this is practically the "practical liberal politics dicussion blog" most days.  

And yet, there is almost this deeper idealism, this deeper need to be inspired that seems to sustain us all even while we reject the usual rhetoric of the leaders who inspire everyone else in our party.  

Are we just a different type of sheep?  
Or is there a movement going on from which we draw inspiration... and when Chris talks about 'a candidate that inspires' perhaps he really means someone who taps into the overflowing river of inspiration whose source is the movement itself.  

Perhaps he means we need a movement candidate, not someone who just wants to live in the whitehouse or who thinks it's their right.  

by johnowens2 2006-11-13 05:09AM | 0 recs
Great post as usual

Regarding "eschew[ing] the practices and norms of the Washington, D.C. media and political establishment" what can we do to highlight that it currently really isn't a 50-state strategy, but more like a 49-state strategy?

We didn't pick up anything in Illinois. This was a golden opportunity year, and instead it appears that tried and true Democratic politics of focused races and media buys were at play.

by michael in chicago 2006-11-12 09:09AM | 0 recs
Seek Transformation

Looking forward to '08, I see a promising field of potential Democratic Presidential candidates--Over on the GOP side, it looks grim.  And, the R's have to defend a whole lot more Senate seats in the next election.

Man, it's really nice to feel optimistic for a change...

by global yokel 2006-11-12 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

you know, i'm actually kind of glad that there's no knockout progressive candidate running in 2008.  it allows us to focus more on movement-building.  maybe that's a twisted logic, but i'd hate to see the blogosphere atrophy at this critical point.

besides that, it looks to me like the progressive movement is most successful when it pairs with other more-or-less similarly oriented social movements, in particular the labor movement.  for my money, edwards is an ideal candidate: sufficiently appealing to netroots types, very appealing to labor movement types, and more than suited for bringing together the labor movement and the netroots.

anyway, we have some serious problems which last week's election cover up: liberal self-identification is actually down slightly from 2004, from 21% to 20%.  true, the gap between liberals and conservatives has shrunk somewhat, thanks to a drop in conservative self-identification (34% to 32%), but that is hardly a comfort considering that liberals should have been extremely motivated to vote in this election.  we desparately need to address this trend.  my guess is that the single most powerful way to do that is to support union organizing drives, and especially to get behind the Employee Free Choice Act.  it seems to me that working with labor to get behind an Edwards candidacy would be the natural by-product of that kind of cooperation, but i'm just guessin'.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

What do you think the ideological self-identification would have looked like if the choice was "progressive" instead of liberal. I think it would have jumped 10 points.

by adamterando 2006-11-12 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

that's an interesting point.  i had thought of that a little bit, and my guess is you're right; probably not a 10-point jump, maybe a decent 3-5 point jump.  not half bad.

on the other hand, it worries me that so many people who identify as "progressive" don't identify as "liberal".  some people think of themselves as progressive (i.e. part of the netroots) as well as liberal (i.e. believing in the constellation of values that brought about the medicare and social security, the civil rights revolution, and the end of communism through multifaceted engagement.)  that would include me.

some people, apparently quite a few, think of themselves as progressive but not liberal, perhaps progressive and centrist instead.

that does worry me, because centrists are not only less likely to pass the kind of legislation i want, they are also much less likely to reliably elect democrats.  of course, the existence of "progressive centrists" is a relatively new phenomenon, so how they'll behave in future elections is fairly unpredictable.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

on the other hand, it worries me that so many people who identify as "progressive" don't identify as "liberal".

"Liberal" is Rush Limbaugh's word. It's not something people identify as. It's something people are smeared with. Progressives are members of a political movement. Liberals are troop-taxing god-aborting werewolves from hell. The left gave up control of what the word "Liberal" means 20 years ago and it's too late to take it back. Don't bother trying. Find something more productive to focus on.

by Silent sound 2006-11-12 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

"Liberal" is Rush Limbaugh's word. It's not something people identify as.

I think that a lot of people have gotten the idea that it is just an alternative spelling of Libertine defined as

one devoid of any restraints--especially one who ignores or even spurns religious norms, accepted morals, and forms of behavior sanctioned by the larger society. The philosophy gained new-found adherents in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in France. . .

by Fred in Vermont 2006-11-12 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I first remember Reagan labeling Democrats as "Liberals."  

by CLK 2006-11-12 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

i disagree.  it's an ideology with a wealth of historical and intellectual infrastructure.  and without it, i think progressivism is doomed.   that's why Rush Limbaugh has worked so hard to demonize it these past 20 years.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 03:39PM | 0 recs
Ideology improved in Virginia

That state is trending our way and it was verified in the Webb/Allen exit poll. The liberal-conservative gap dropped to 21-35, which may not sound great but it was 17-38 in the 2004 Kerry/Bush NEP. So that's a 7 point net gain. Probably a bit soft and wind aided but no doubt it will hold up for the most part.

I agree the drop from 21 to 20 was the most disturbing aspect of this election. I was confident it would be 22. The bracket breakdown of that would be interesting, particularly among the new young voters.

by Gary Kilbride 2006-11-12 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Ideology improved in Virginia

thanks for pointing out the virginia numbers.  pennsylvania also improved surprisingly - it was only a 3-point gap there (!!).  on the other hand, we also saw a 3-point gap in California, which was sort of odd.  I looked at the state by state breakdowns a little bit in one of my diaries a while ago (see 1/2586), althought it was very early in the morning of nov. 8.

i too would be very interested to see the ideological breakdowns among youth.  i'm actually worried that they are trending toward moderate, even though on the issues they should be liberal.  that's based partially on some reading i've done on youth politics, although i'm certainly not claiming i've done any kind of widespread research.  perhaps that is one area where we could easily improve our numbers - by pointing out to youth that their values are largely in line with liberal values.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I wouldn't make too much of 1% changes. the self-id %s have been pretty stable since the 70s, and the stuff Chris Bowers is talking about has to do with huge ideological shifts on the scale of 20,30%. at the same time, the label "liberal" has tons of baggage, and issue stances do indicate that people are more progressive than they say.

so yeah, putting out progressive candidates is only half the battle here. i think it's very important to take charge of the meaning of "progressive" or "liberal" and articulate how these viewpoints further the country and are not just weak-kneed, etc. "centrist" is such an awful philosophy because its simply reactive. for example, the "centrist" position in 2002 was to invade Iraq and has simply shifted with public opinion. but the pragmatic, progressive position was to stay out of Iraq because it was obvious that we had multiple ways of dealing with Saddam Hussein.

by Chris G 2006-11-12 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

my understanding was that the self-id #s were slowly but steadily shifting our way.  i agree that 1% is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but considering that liberals should have been super-motivated to vote this year, i was disappointed to see a small decrease, instead of what i expected to be a small increase.

you've also go to take into account the cultural factors as well: religious liberals and union members were organizing like gangbusters this year.  that should have brought a lot of liberals to the polls.

i suspect what's happening is, as you hinted, we're witnessing the continued effects of the anti-liberal campaign of the 90's.  i'm worried that something new has taken hold as well - progressives are also starting to tar the liberal label.  i've seen it hear and there in dailykos diaries, and also from places like Tikkun and Sojourners.  and this canard that somehow last week's elections were a victory for conservatives certainly doesn't help.

that has me very worried, so i agree, we certainly do need to rebuild the term "liberal", especially among progressives.  hopefully, that won't be too difficult.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

the anti-liberal campaign goes back much further than the 90s. the big thing that happened in the 90s was the rise of Fox and (syndicated) conservative talk radio as outlets to efficiently dissimenate propaganda.

but a lot of things were in place by then. I personally found EJ Dionne's Why American Hate Politics to be really insightful. he pubished it in the early 90s but I think it's still relevant as a historical (and definitely opinionated) account of political history after WWII.

by Chris G 2006-11-12 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

thanks for the recommendation!  i'll have to check it out.

by Shai Sachs 2006-11-12 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

But those labels don't actually tell us what people believe. Hell, my beliefs are pretty much in line with all the FPers here but I generally self-identify as moderate. Why? Because issue by issue I agree with the majority of Americans. There are a handful of exceptions (say gay marriage) but on vast areas of policy I'm in line with most Americans. I love showing this poll to people. It doesn't really matter what the traditional media pundits would call me- I'd say about half of Americans are to my left and about half are to my right.

by js noble 2006-11-12 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I agree with you.  I want real reform.  I want a real "morning in America", not the sham Reagan talked about so he could scam demographics into voting for him.  There are too many net root people who don't have a clue why we/they are here.  The bigger we get, the more diluted we become.  It reminds me of the 60s - deja vue all over again.  In the 60s, peace and love were the point.  In the 70s, Brokaw had long hair, the polyester Neru jacket was everywhere, and nobody cared about the message.  They just wanted to be "in",  "hip" (so they thought).  As newbies join this cause, too many lose sight of the principles, goals and values we speak for.  It makes me sad.  After 40 years of this, this is my last go round.  If the Dems don't change and the netroots don't stay true, you can add me to the pile of discouraged voters.  I will stick around till the 08 elections.  That will be two whole years to watch the Dems at work.  If they suck, it will be obvious as the nose on my face that life is just a stage, and we are just the prop that votes.  If so, they can find someone else to play this useless game.  I have little faith the Dems got any of this revolt.  

by dkmich 2006-11-12 09:35AM | 0 recs

Exactly. I don't think this planet can take any more sham idealistic moments. For once, politicians should do all the right things, for the people and planet, not corporations and lobbyists. It may be our last chance especially with regards to the environment. The crazy thing is people will vote for politicians who do the right things for the people. Why haven't we moved past this idiocy? This is common sense.

by nonwhiteperson 2006-11-15 11:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly

DC corrupts them.  This is why we need Clean Elections..

by dkmich 2006-11-18 06:02AM | 0 recs
Too many old Gore jokes; Hillary too easy

This next one should not go down like the last two -- with so much tide of negativity available for Al Gore (just pull out the old jokes about Mr. Stiff).  And Hillary pushes too many buttons with "El Base" of the Republicans.  Either go for wisdom (Joe Biden) or a visionary flash (Obama).  The GOP won't have the tactics to face either of them.  Here's what I'm doing: "!Biden para presidente!"  

by diego277 2006-11-12 09:39AM | 0 recs
The Traditional Media

has got you sold, lock stock & Barrel.

Time to wake up and make your own decision based on a potential candidate's record, accomplishments and abilities.  Not what the TM wants the sheep to believe.

by ROGNM 2006-11-12 11:30AM | 0 recs
I agree, but with one caveat

We currently have a President who makes decisions based soley on strong conviction and belief.  We don't need more of that.

So, what I think you and Glenn meant was that we want a politics based on strong conviction and belief in progressive progressive principles--most important of which is the fair and equal participation of the people as the core foundation of American democracy.

It is the value of that progressive idea--participation--that eludes most top elected officials at the moment.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-11-12 10:01AM | 0 recs
If you think that G WB

does anything based on "conviction" rather than political expediancy and rude ignorance, then I've got a bridge in Sonora that I'd like to sell you.

by ROGNM 2006-11-12 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: If you think that G WB

Yeah, well...if you think the opposition has no convictions, then I can understand why you also think you own that bridge in Sonora.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-11-13 03:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Keep telling us this.

by teedub 2006-11-12 10:04AM | 0 recs
Keep telling us this.

Get off your fat keyboard and YOU start screaming it from the roof top.

by ROGNM 2006-11-12 11:34AM | 0 recs
Cement the loyalty of a whole new generation.

George W. Bush is on the verge of creating a generation of democrats.  All we need now is an inspiring candidate to cement the loyalty of the fellows in my age group.  As a former Feingold supporter myself, I will take your advice, and keep from committing to another candidate too soon.

by One Hand Clapping 2006-11-12 10:21AM | 0 recs
Already spoken to fellow activists

here in MA and many of us are planning trips to NH to see Democratic hopefuls without anyone else's filter but our own.

Blogs are great as a way of saying Candidate X is going to be in Manchester or Portsmouth on such and such day;so many of us worked on Deval Patrick's campaign that this gives us a chance to stay in touch with one another with a nice road trip thrown in and deals with a topic we are interested in - politics.

Progressive politics.

by merbex 2006-11-12 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Inevitably the candidates described as inspiring on progressive websites are merely the articulate and passionate ones who are closest to their place on the ideological dial. That hardly equates to inspiring overall. When you find a Kennedy or Reagan, you won't have to shout this is the guy. Everyone will already be standing alongside.

While I appreciate the reach for the stars enthusiasm, I'm saddled with pure reality right now, and likely for the next eight years given incumbent re-election rate, 25 of 26 governors (Ehrlich) this year. A classic case of the progressive base denying the electability factor and forcefeeding their candidate, into an electorate equally thrilled to spit it out with a laugh. Many of us on Nevada blogs warned that Dina Titus, though an impressive progressive, was utterly unelectable statewide. Since election day I've seen many comments on MyDD and Kos and elsewhere in dismay that Nevadans could prefer Jim Gibbons and his daily scandals. It was purely ideological, Titus too liberal for the state. "Utterly discredited" was resoundingly verified five days ago, at least in this state. Right now I'd be sharing the same glee as everyone else, if bland and more moderate Jim Gibson were headed to Carson City.

by Gary Kilbride 2006-11-12 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I'm thinking James Webb.  He's incredibly well-prepared to be President, oozes integrity, speaks articulately for what he believes and is a progressive to his core.

by lynnallen 2006-11-12 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I hadn't read this when I posted my comment. I agree with  all  you say.

by marya 2006-11-12 11:51AM | 0 recs
What about churches?

They have a significant amount of land, but I wouldn't go for taxing them, so long as they stay out of the endorsement business.

by One Hand Clapping 2006-11-12 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I wholeheartedly agree. If real Leaders and Thinkers were to start speaking to the populace, their words would shatter the status quo and rouse a larger amount of people than any "insider" could presume would ever be interested in "politics."

by Nezua Limon Xoloquinta Jonez 2006-11-12 11:26AM | 0 recs
Carol Shea-Porter in NH-01
wasn't supposed to win the PRIMARY!  She was unelectable, not enough money, too liberal, anti-war, etc., etc., etc.  She is now NH's first Congresswoman.  She is exactly what Chris is talking about and what we need to translate to the next level, as well as replicate all over the country.  She was grassroots and netroots, although not netroots across the country, despite our efforts to get you guys to pay attention!!!
by bloomingpol 2006-11-12 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I am wide open to ideas for 08.  I admire Feingold and would support him. I would also support John Edwards. I love Howard Dean and would support him. I am  going to support whomever the Dems nominate. I am looking for a man on  a white horse.  I thought, just thought, I might have gotten a glimpse of one the other day when I saw Webb speak after Allen went away.  He is, like McCain, a bona fide war hero. Unlike McCain, he has been  against this war unequivocally from the first and would NEVER suggest sending more Americans to die in the endless quagmire of Iraq where  we have never had any business being in the first place. Unlike McCain, he had the guts  to get out of the Republican  party when it lost its moral compass. This is just the seed of an idea. I will be watching all the possibilities as the days roll by.

by marya 2006-11-12 11:48AM | 0 recs
Jim Webb

will also be every Frontrunner's VP selection.

by ROGNM 2006-11-12 11:56AM | 0 recs
Need some help....

Nice post Chris.  I couldn't agree more.  rightousness and truth resonate - and generally (but not always) people will choose candidates who they believe radiate it.

To all,
Along those line, i've been going through FEC and other data to try and analyze the impact of dollars spent by the DCCC and other groups in support of House candidates this cycle.  In particularly i'm interested in how well the DCCC initial swing-district strategy played out (and what the congress would have looked like if it had been the only strategy in play...)  
With that said, i've seen a number of references on blogs to the DCCC dumping 3M+ into IL-6 (Tammy Duckworth) but for the life of me, i can't find anything in the data to support this.  (in fact, the fec only has a record of 1.6M spent on behalf of BOTH candidateds in the general election by all PACs...)  Anyone have a better understanding of the data to explain all this.

PS.  i've spent time writing scripts and getting the data organized into oracle tables, etc.  If anyone is interested in getting the data or the scripts to create the data from the various data sources, email me at

by DanD 2006-11-12 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation
In 2004 I was swept up by John Edwards.  Russ was the only one that could shake my belief in John.  Don't get me wrong, I don't trust them (or any politicians).  I don't idolize them (I have no heros).  They were just the best of the crop (by far).
Now John Edwards is my uncontested choice for 2008.  I may go to Nevada to work for him for a few months next year.  Why?  Because he is an unabashed populist.  And a progressive.  He isn't as idealogically pure as Russ, but I don't demand purity (everyone is corrupt).
He is the only one out there talking about the economic issues.  He is the only one (that I know of) who isn't for free trade (I'm only cautiously for free trade, with strong reservations).  Can Johnny bring back the Reagan Democrats?  Can he inspire the young people who are mostly registered independents?  I don't know.  But I'm going to work hard to help him.
by jallen 2006-11-12 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I'm willing to see what candidates spring up, but John Edwards was the only candidate I've heard in a long time talking about larger systemic problems in America (e.g. funding education largely through property taxes), and his work over the last two years on poverty is both impressive and an indication of heartfelt passion on the issue.  I live in middle-Georgia (Jim Marshall's district), and Edwards was the only democrat running in '04 who could light up this place, both black and white.

Obama also has a community-organizing background and heartfelt conviction, and I was, of course, blown away by his convention speech (unlike Edwards'), so I'll be listening seriously to him too. Let's hope Washington doesn't ruin him.  Those two seem to me the best faces of progressive politics in '08.  

As for Gore, we may need his prophetic voice unsullied by the small-minded derision that talk show hosts and stand-up comics would heap upon him should he run again.  That said, I'd vote for him in 2008 with far more zeal than I did in 2000.  His was a lonely voice of clarity on the abuse of presidential power and this horribly conceived and incompetently executed war years before Edwards had the courage or wisdom to speak out against it.

by maconblue 2006-11-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I strongly agree that it is time to find a leader who represents us, not one who simply wants our votes and money. We should test and challenge the candidates, and support whoever we feel responds the best to that challenge.

by Teach313 2006-11-12 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Obama, Edwards, Gore good.  But also Wesley Clark.

by Jay Gold 2006-11-12 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

I note and appreciate your advice to not play the washington insider but not all who are active in the netroots are also novices.  I am utterly novice and think your advice applies to me.

I have a response and a bit of my own advice.  A healthy loathing of bush, rove, cheney for and that whole grafting club of congressmen who disserved their constituents because K Street was more interesting to them than main street...That was what inspired a lot of the enormous volunteer energy and cash that helped sweep those bums out.  If Bush is the inspiration we need,we are doomed.  You can not survive if you define yourself by what you hate and intend to remove from the world of politcs: your success is the end of your motivation.    

Where I part company with the essay and with others who pine already for an '08 candidate is this: we must define who we are in positive terms of programs and priorities and then seek the candidate who can help us get OUR work done and help us sell OUR mission to the rest of the country.  

by greensmile 2006-11-12 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

You're right. But at the risk of repeating myself.


Each generational thesis brings with it a dominant new medium. The last one showed the dominance of TV. The one before, radio and movies. The one before that, mass market newspapers.

The transformation of this political generation is represented by the Internet. By THIS MEDIUM. he_process_rev.html

It's the process through which political change happens that is changing. It has to be a dialogue. You can't dictate from the center. No one can. Not even Chris Bowers or Markos Moulitsas.

The difference between Chris and Markos on the one hand and everyone else is Chris and Markos understand this.

So what can your site do -- and other sites do  -- to enhance this political medium? Scoop is great. But Markos is right on this question too -- get mobile.

by Dana Blankenhorn 2006-11-12 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

And what about (family) farms?

by js noble 2006-11-12 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Be Inspired. Seek Transformation

Everyone is different, Chris.  If you actually study how people make decisions, it runs the gamut from the purely cerebral to the purely intuitive.

We are all entitled to our own approach and that doesn't mean we are playing beltway insider, which is kind of insulting.  We are certainly not obligated to wait for some grand and glorious blogmeister to pull a name out of his ass.

A nap is a good thing, Chris.

by NorCalJim 2006-11-12 09:31PM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads